It is so amazing how life can get so busy that we even put off the things that we enjoy. Blogging is an outlet for me and I thank everyone who humors me by reading my stress relief. We have been busy with home schooling, snow, rabbits, chickens and life that I have not had a chance to blog. So I decided to start my Monday off right with a moment to myself, a computer and a cup of coffee.
The chickens look like they are starting to adjust to the snow. However, if I gave them a type writer like the farm animals had in the children’s book “Click Clack Moo” I think that they would be asking for electric blankets and telling me to make the snow go away. The snow right outside their coop is starting to get really packed down, so I think it does not make their feet as cold as the fresh snow. I have been giving them treats of corn and sunflower seeds and they have been willing to leave the coop to come and get them. I am even surprised that our egg numbers have not gone down too much. We currently have 12 laying hens and we are getting about 10 eggs a day, I think that is pretty good for 10 degree days. We have noticed that the chickens have been laying the eggs in different places. I think it is their way of protesting the cold. Our 8 younger hens are suppose to start laying any day now. We did get a very small egg, about the size of a quarter this morning, so maybe they are starting. It will be interesting if the cold weather has any effect on them.
The chickens are also getting creative about finding ways to stay out of the snow. They are roosting on the top of the door into the chicken coop. They are roosting on top of the fence around the chicken coop, as well as on top of the chicken coop itself. It makes me wonder if they know something I don’t know and if we all should be heading for higher ground.
We have had an interesting week with rabbits. Again we are not sure if it is the cold or if part of something we deal with as rabbit breeders, this is our first winter with rabbits so we will have to wait till next year to find out. Right now we are just trying to learn as much as possible.
Poor Nala has had a stressful week. On Monday my husband went out to do chores and noticed that she had blood on her front paw. He brought her in so we could get a closer look and to clean her up. She split her nail down the middle and damaged the quick. I trimmed off the parts of the nail that I could and I put corn starch on it to help stop the bleeding. We held her for a while to make sure the bleeding had stopped before we took her back out to her cage. Nala was due to kindle on Thursday so we did not want to mess with her very much. Her toe was much better by evening chores and we started waiting for her to have her babies. Thursday came and went and she was not acting like she was going to be going into labor anytime soon. Normally rabbits start carrying straw around in their mouths to make a nest and within 24-36 hours they start pulling their fur out for their nest. She was not doing anything of these things. We put the nesting box in her cage anyway, thinking that maybe since she was a first time mom, she might be late showing the normal signs of labor. Well, by Saturday night when she still had not kindled, we thought that maybe the pregnancy just did not take. Sunday afternoon I went out and noticed that she had delivered 3 kits and she had started to eat them. So very sad. I removed the babies and cleaned up her cage. She never made her nest and she never pulled her fur. I don’t know if it was because of the cold or because she was a first time mom. We will give her another chance and see how she does. No matter how many dead babies you have to deal with it still breaks your heart. Below is a picture of her toe, not the babies.
Our main Sr. buck, Charming, who is almost 2 years old, has always had discolored urine. The urine, even in the summer, is an amber color often. I know that is common with rabbits so I did not think anything of it. This week on Thursday when I went into the Bunny Barn I noticed that there was blood under his cage. I took him out expecting to see a hurt foot like we found in the other rabbit earlier in the week and I did not. I flipped him over onto his back and noticed that his fur around his penis was stained red and there was some discoloration in the tip of his penis. I came inside and called the vet. The vet examined him the next day and said that she believed he had passed a bladder stone. The cold weather is making their water freeze and she thinks that he has gotten slightly dehydrated and that has caused bladder stones. We have given him a heated waterer, as well as, going out multiple times during the day to make sure he has fresh water and nothing is frozen. Since then, we have not seen any more blood and we are going to continue to be monitoring him.
We have decided that we are glad we did not get a farm this spring like we wanted. Being here and starting small, we are able to learn so much. In five years or so when we are in a better position to buy a larger homestead, we will have learned these lessons already a be ahead of the curve.